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Top 9 Things to Do in Australia

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Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia

Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia

Our top nine things to do in Australia celebrate the allure and hidden secrets of famous cities, remote towns, and natural wonders to give you an idea of what to do in the country on vacation.

Chic and stylish streets overlook untouched blue waters, and ancient wilderness gives way to dreamscapes of culinary invention. The best things to do in Australia can immerse you in the wilderness, introduce you to rare wildlife, or take you into elaborate arcades.

Australia is an adventure destination with surprises and endless charm, and the following highlights the experiences and activities to plan for your trip.

  1. 1. Discover Aboriginal Culture in Remote Destinations
  2. 2. Savor Australian Flavors on Traditional Food Tours
  3. 3. Spot Local Wildlife on Australia Safaris
  4. 4. Soak Up the Sunshine on Famous Beaches
  5. 5. Swim with or Search for Endemic Marine Life
  6. 6. Explore the Urban Landscapes on Foot
  7. 7. Photograph Natural Grace in Iconic National Parks
  8. 8. Hike in Australia’s Popular Adventure Destinations
  9. 9. Tease Your Palate on Australian Wine Tours
  10. Experience the Top Things to Do in Australia

1. Discover Aboriginal Culture in Remote Destinations

Uluru in the Australian Outback

Uluru in the Australian Outback

Aboriginal culture in Australia represents the ancient heritage hidden in the shadows of giant monoliths, crossing the sandy banks of billabongs, and coursing through hidden trails carved in the rainforest.

The Aboriginal cultures revere and respect the diverse land and have passed down oral traditions emphasized by stories of Dreamtime that carry elements of mythological proportions. Art, history, dance, stories, and spirituality share only hints of individual cultures separated by the landscapes, yet connected for millennia.

As you explore off the beaten path and escape the crowds on tours of Australia’s most remote destinations, you will find Aboriginal culture and Australian history brought to life in villages and towns dotting the national parks, outback, and coastlines.

Best Places for Aboriginal Culture Tours: Uluru • Kakadu National Park • Daintree National Forest • Purnululu National Park • Great Sandy National Park

2. Savor Australian Flavors on Traditional Food Tours

Lunch at Miss Frank in Melbourne, Australia

Lunch in Melbourne, Australia

Australia’s food scene expresses innovation and local authenticity, and you can savor traditional Aboriginal and vibrant cosmopolitan flavors on culinary tours of the cities, towns, and villages.

With an array of native ingredients that buoy regional dishes, it’s easy to find a food culture that celebrates provincial flavors and international cultures that have reimagined recipes based on what’s available. The culinary evolution of Australia has also resulted in some of the world’s best-known restaurants, run by internationally renowned chefs who create gourmet escapes or cozy comfort foods.

Whether exploring the Michelin-starred restaurants on Sydney, Australia vacations or tucking into a hearty bush meal, you can discover what separates authentic Australian cuisine from the rest of the South Pacific and the world on culinary adventures.

Best Places for Traditional Food Tours: Margaret River • Barossa • Adelaide Hills • Fleurieu • Mornington Peninsula • Sydney

3. Spot Local Wildlife on Australia Safaris

Koala in Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Australia

Koala in Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Australia

Besides dynamic landscapes and chic cities, Australia possesses some of the world’s most unique wildlife to spot on Australia safari tours, many of which do not exist anywhere else in the world.

The country’s pristine wilderness gives you access to up-close animal encounters that can range from penguins to kangaroos, wombats, and koalas. The wildlife roams freely across the distinctive landscapes, revealing the weird and wonderful, reclusive, and gregarious.

Finding wildlife in its natural habitat is a thrilling experience that far surpasses seeing an animal in a zoo or sanctuary, and Australia kangaroo safaris are excellent options for families and wildlife lovers.

Best Places for Wildlife Viewing: Kangaroo Island • Daintree Rainforest • Phillip Island • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary • Wilson Promontory • Fraser Island

Learn more: 10 Best Places to See Wildlife in Australia

4. Soak Up the Sunshine on Famous Beaches

Four Mile beach in Port Douglas, Australia

Four Mile beach in Port Douglas, Australia

Australia is a nation of famous beaches that stem from a seemingly endless and accessible coastline, making beach days an essential thing to do during your stay in Australia.

The sandy shores range from hidden coves perfect for families to elegant shores for couples, or roiling waves excellent for surfers. Offering unique charms for different types of travelers, the various beaches attract guests daily, depending on the watersports or coastal activities available on a chosen shoreline.

The majority of Australia’s population lives within concentrated pockets little more than 30 miles from any shore, and this only emphasizes the importance of beaches in contemporary Australian culture, whether dotted with restaurants and resorts or deserted.

Best Beaches for Sunny Days: Bondi Beach • Four Mile Beach • Manly Beach • Whitehaven Beach • Rapid Bay • Cable Beach • Bell’s Beach

Learn more: 12 Best Beaches to Visit in Australia

5. Swim with or Search for Endemic Marine Life

Turtle swimming along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Australia’s famous beaches and wild stretches of coastline are home to a wide variety of marine life, encouraging travelers to enjoy watersports and take advantage of opportunities to swim with or see the wilderness beneath the sea.

Crystal-clear waters and endless sandy beaches cover the length of Australia’s popular coastal strips, and these destinations further underline the indelible beauty of Australia’s marinescapes that are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and more.

Whether looking for sea turtles or whale sharks, friendly dolphins or fiery tropical fish, Australia provides unique access to mysterious reef systems and colorful marine life. On Great Barrier Reef tours, you can search beneath the surface for the Great Barrier Reef’s Great Eight.

Best Spots for Swimming with Marine Life: Great Barrier Reef • Ningaloo Reef • Montague Island • Eyre Peninsula • Lord Howe Island

6. Explore the Urban Landscapes on Foot

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia

Australia is home to dynamic urban landscapes that are home to 89 percent of the population and exploring these cityscapes on foot can reveal the charms and hidden secrets behind every street corner.

The fascinating cities, from Sydney to Melbourne, defy and embrace the weather and landscape, with easy access to remarkable beaches and diverse food lifestyles, in addition to award-winning wineries.

The combination of natural scenery and urban design creates a vibrant culture that changes with each city, yet remains undeniably under the umbrella of quintessential Australia.

Best Cities for Walking Tours: Perth • Sydney • Melbourne • Port Douglas • Darwin • Hobart

Learn more: 8 Best Cities to Visit in Australia

7. Photograph Natural Grace in Iconic National Parks

Echo Point scenic view of the Three Sisters in Blue Mountains National Park, Australia

Three Sisters in Blue Mountains National Park, Australia

Australia’s national parks distinguish themselves by their vast differences and captivating characteristics, inviting travelers to photograph and admire the endless natural beauty across the country.

With over 500 national parks across the country, their individual draw can range from soaring limestone cliffs to colorful sandstone rock formations, untouched coastline to protected dingo habitats.

Whether embracing the rainforest or finding tropical islands, coursing through the mountains or finding a desert panorama, Australia’s delicate ecosystems are breathtaking, accessible, diverse, and full of adventure.

Best National Parks to Visit: Kakadu • Blue Mountains • Karijini • Litchfield • Cradle Mountains • Uluru-Kata Tjuta

Learn more: 10 Best National Parks in Australia

8. Hike in Australia’s Popular Adventure Destinations

Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Walk in Victoria, Australia

Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Walk in Victoria, Australia

Taking a hike in Australia’s best adventure destinations is as legendary as the landscape itself, with ritual woven into the fabric of the culture as you cross the countryside and outback.

The tradition of hiking in Australia stems from the Aboriginal spiritual journey and has given rise to half-day trails and multi-day treks through untouched wilderness. Tremendous walkways dip into rugged gorges or overlook the sapphire waters of an untamed coastline, providing options for every traveler.

The captivating ecosystems often soak in sunlight and offer glimpses of the quirky wildlife that makes a home only in Australia, and you can also embrace a range of other outdoor activities in many of these locations, including Segway tours, horseback riding, and more.

Best Places for Hiking: Kings Canyon • Mount Gower • Margaret River • Larapinta Trail • Great Ocean Walk • Wineglass Bay

9. Tease Your Palate on Australian Wine Tours

Fog rolling through vineyards in Hunter Valley, Australia

Hunter Valley, Australia

Australia is ripe with wine regions, each producing a multitude of award-winning varietals and honoring the thriving wine culture, from the Barossa to Yarra Valley. On Australian wine tours, travelers can discover the distinct qualities of Australian wines and what makes them unique.

While Australian wine may recently have become internationally recognized, the history of winemaking in the country dates back to the 18th century. Home to some of the oldest living vineyards in the world and popular wines like shiraz and sauvignon blanc, the roots and flavors of Australian wine run deep and vast, with wine regions offering gourmet getaways, secluded escapes, or fun tastings for enthusiasts and novices.

With estates dotting breathtaking parts of the Australian countryside, wine tours are as cinematic as they are tantalizing, providing the perfect space for relaxation and a taste of the local pastime.

Best Places for Wine-Tasting Tours: Hunter Valley • Margaret River • Barossa Valley • Tamar Valley • Yarra Valley

Learn more: 4 Best Wine Regions in Australia

Experience the Top Things to Do in Australia

Mossman Gorge in Daintree National Park, Australia

Mossman Gorge in Daintree National Park, Australia

Australia’s sharp contrasts make it a perfect place for every type of traveler, whether looking for adventure or relaxation, remote getaways or unique wildlife excursions on handcrafted Australia vacations and tours.

The inspiring activities across Australia offer endless surprises as you explore the best places to visit in Australia and beyond. In anticipation of your trip, you can also discover our picks for the best time to visit Australia or learn more in our Australia travel guide.

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